By Ian S Palmer
Unbeaten Jermall Charlo of Richmond, Texas will be taking on former world champion Austin Trout of Las Cruces, New Mexico at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas this Saturday, May 21st when he attempts to defend his IBF Junior Middleweight Championship. The 12-round bout can be seen live on Showtime in the U.S. while British fans can catch it on BoxNation. Trout was last in the ring back in September when he beat Joey Hernandez by sixth-round stoppage. Charlo last fought in November and beat the unheralded Wilky Campfort of Haiti by a fourth-round stoppage. Trout is a southpaw needs a win badly here if he hopes to prove he’s still one of the top 154 lb. boxers in the world.
The 25-year-old Charlo enters the contest with a perfect record of 23-0 along with 18 Kos. He stands 6-feet-tall and has a reach of 73.5 inches. Charlo won the crown in September of last year by stopping Cornelius Bundrage in three brutal rounds and this will be his second defence. Charlo said he wants to be an active champion and he’s on quite a roll as he’s stopped 16 of his last 17 opponents. He has 93 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2008 and as we know, he’s got quite a bit of power with a current knockout ratio of 78 per cent. However, it could be argued that he hasn’t faced an elite boxer other than Bundrage, who was 42 when Charlo beat him.
Charlo hasn’t exactly been clashing with top-notch boxers, but looked fast and powerful against Bundrage by dropping him four times. He has excellent speed, power, and boxing skills, but his chin has yet to be tested. He’s a strong, offensive-minded boxer who would rather his fights didn’t reach the scorecards. Charlo’s only other notable win so far has been against Antwone Smith and although he’s now a world champion, he’s still not proven himself to be an elite boxer as of yet. Charlo will be facing the 30-year-old Trout who has a height disadvantage at just over 5-feet-9-inches tall and a slightly shorter reach at 72 inches.
Trout has a 30-2 record with 17 Kos and has won four bouts in a row since being beaten in consecutive unanimous decisions by Saul Alvarez and Erislandy Lara in 2013. His best wins were unanimous decisions over Delvin Rodriguez and then Miguel Cotto at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2012. His four recent fights have been against Grade B opponents in Daniel Dawson, Luis Grajeda, Luis Galarza, and Hernandez, but he passed all of those tests with relative ease. Trout had problems with Lara’s style, but usually looks good against skilled opponents. He’s an experienced boxer who’s fought 203 rounds since turning pro in 2005 and has a somewhat frustrating counterpunching style. His current knockout ratio stands at 53 per cent.
If Charlo simply relies in his aggressiveness and power in this fight he could be in for a rude surprise. If Trout can handle his hardest punches then Charlo will need to exhibit some good boxing skills against the crafty southpaw. If indeed Trout is at his best on Saturday and he can stand up to Charlo’s power shots, fans should see the title change hands by a relatively close decision.